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Table of Contents:

GS Paper 2:

1. Domicile rules for J&K.

2. What explains the India-China border flare-up?

3. Why are India and Nepal fighting over Kalapani?

4. US discussed conducting its first nuclear test in decades.

5. China’s BRI.


Facts for Prelims:

1. What are cicadas?

2. Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

3. New plant species from Western Ghats.

4. Adenovirus COVID-19 vaccine.

5. Mizoram grants ‘industry’ status to sports.

6. Katkari Tribe.


GS Paper  : 2


Topics Covered: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Domicile rules for J&K

What to study?

For Prelims: Overview of new rules, comparison with old rules.

For Mains: Significance and implications, concerns associated.

 Context: The MHA amended a 2010 legislation, the Jammu and Kashmir Civil Services (Decentralisation and Recruitment Act), by substituting the term “permanent residents” with “domiciles of UT [Union Territory] of J&K.”

It has redefined domicile through Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization (Adaption of state laws) order, 2020 issued under section 96 of Jammu & Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019.

What did the 2010 Act say?

The 2010 Act pertained to employment in the Civil Services comprising “district, divisional and State” cadre posts. Earlier, only permanent residents of J&K were eligible to apply for gazetted and non-gazetted posts.

 The changes:

The domicile rules as defined under the amended order will determine recruitment to all government posts in J&K from now on.

The power to issue domicile certificates has been vested in the tehsildar (revenue officer).

Definition of domiciles:

  1. The order defines domiciles as anyone “who has resided for a period of 15 years in the UT of J&K or has studied for a period of seven years and appeared in Class 10th/12th examination in an educational institution located in the UT of J&K or who is registered as a migrant by the Relief and Rehabilitation Commissioner (Migrants)”.
  2. It said that children of central government officials including the all India services, public sector units, autonomous body of Centre, Public Sector Banks, officials of statutory bodies, central universities and recognised research institutes of the Centre who have served in J&K for a “total period of 10 years” will be domiciles.
  3. The domicile status also applies to “children of such residents of J&K who reside outside J&K in connection with their employment or business or other professional or vocational reasons but their parents should fulfil any of the conditions provided”.

What are the rules for grant of domicile certificate?

  • The certificate has to be issued within 15 days. The officer not able to do so will be penalised ₹50,000 of his or her salary.
  • Residents of J&K who live outside the erstwhile State can get domicile certificates by simply producing their Permanent Residence Certificate (PRC), ration card copy, voter card or any other valid document.
  • Those migrants not registered with the Relief and Rehabilitation department can do so by providing documents such as electoral rolls of 1988, proof of registration as a migrant in any State in the country or any other valid document.
  • There is a provision to get the certificate online too.

Implications of new rules:

  • It will allow West Pakistan refugees and children of women who married non-locals to apply for jobs in J&K.
  • According to MHA’s reply to a parliamentary panel on February 18, there are over 84,000 vacancies in J&K of which 22,078 vacancies pertain to Class IV employees, 54,375 to non-gazettted, and 7,552 vacancies are at the gazetted level.

Why is the policy being opposed?

Opponents say “the changes are aimed at changing the demography” of J&K. The amended domicile law was made in exercise of power under the J&K Reorganization Act 2019 that has been challenged in a number of petitions before the Supreme Court of India.


Prelims Link:

  1. Articles 370 and 35A.
  2. Who are domiciles as per the new definition?
  3. Overflow J&K Reorganisation Act, 2019.
  4. Power to issue domicile certificates.
  5. Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization (Adaption of state laws) order, 2020.

Mains Link:

The MHA amended a 2010 legislation, the Jammu and Kashmir Civil Services (Decentralisation and Recruitment Act), by substituting the term “permanent residents” with “domiciles of UT [Union Territory] of J&K.” Discuss the significance and implications of this move.

Sources: the Hindu.


Topics Covered: India and its neighbourhood- relations.

What explains the India-China border flare-up?

What to study?

For Prelims: Disputed boundary areas between India and China, basis for these disputes.

For Mains: Reasons for increased tensions, ways to address them.

Context: The India-China border has been witnessing tensions over the past month, with incidents reported in at least four different locations along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

These include: the Pangong lake in Ladakh, the Galway valley and Demchok.

Why do face-offs occur?

They mainly occur in areas along the LAC. The LAC has never been demarcated.

Differing perceptions are particularly acute in around two dozen spots across the Western (Ladakh), Middle (Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand), Sikkim, and Eastern (Arunachal Pradesh) sectors of the India-China border.

  • Face-offs occur when patrols encounter each other in the contested zones between overlapping claim lines.
  • Protocols agreed to in 2005 and 2013 detail rules of engagement to prevent such incidents, but have not always been adhered to.

Why has not the LAC been clarified?

India has long proposed an exercise to clarify differing perceptions of the LAC to prevent such incidents. Maps were exchanged in the Middle Sector, but the exercise fell through in the Western Sector where divergence is the greatest.

  • China has since rejected this exercise, viewing it as adding another complication to the on-going boundary negotiations.
  • India’s argument is rather than agree on one LAC, the exercise could help both sides understand the claims of the other, paving the way to regulate activities in contested areas until a final settlement of the boundary dispute.

What is the state of boundary negotiations?

The 22nd round of talks between the Special Representatives, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and China’s State Councillor Wang Yi, was held in Delhi in December 2019. Both “agreed that an early settlement of the boundary question serves the fundamental interests of both countries” and “resolved to intensify their efforts to achieve a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution”.

In 2005, an agreement on political parameters and guiding principles completed the first of three stages of the talks. The agreement said both sides “shall safeguard due interests of their settled populations in border areas”.

The current, and most difficult stage involves agreeing a framework to resolve the dispute in all sectors. The final step will involve delineating and demarcating the boundary in maps and on the ground.

What are the prospects of a settlement?

The likelihood appears remote. The main differences are in the Western and Eastern sectors.

  • India sees China as occupying 38,000 sq km in Aksai Chin. In the east, China claims as much as 90,000 sq km, extending all across Arunachal Pradesh.
  • A swap was hinted at by China in 1960 and in the early 1980s, which would have essentially formalised the status quo. Both sides have now ruled out the status quo as a settlement, agreeing to meaningful and mutual adjustments.
  • At the same time, the most realistic solution will involve only minor adjustments along the LAC, considering neither side will be willing to part with territory already held.



Prelims Link:

  1. Disputed boundaries between India and neighbours.
  2. Where is Aksai chin?
  3. What is the position of two countries on Tawang?
  4. What is LAC?
  5. What is PoK?
  6. Where is Lipulekh pass?

Mains Link:

Face-off and stand-off situations occur along the LAC in areas where India and China have overlapping claim lines. Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.


Topics Covered: India and its neighbourhood- relations.

Why are India and Nepal fighting over Kalapani?

What to study?

For Prelims: Kalapani Dispute- genesis, changes after 1947 and geographical location.

For Mains: How should it be resolved?

Context: On May 8, India inaugurated the Darchula-Lipulekh pass link road, cutting across the disputed Kalapani area which is used by Indian pilgrims to Kailash Mansarovar. Nepal hit back by summoning the Indian Ambassador to Nepal, Vinay Mohan Kwatra, to convey a formal protest.

Where is Kalapani located?

Located in the easternmost corner of Uttarakhand’s Pithoragarh district.

Shares a border on the north with the Tibet Autonomous Region of China and Nepal in the east and south.

It is wedged in between Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh and Kalapani.

The area is the largest territorial dispute between Nepal and India consisting of at least 37,000 hectares of land in the High Himalayas.

Who controls the area?

The area is in India’s control but Nepal claims the region because of historical and cartographic reasons.

What is the cause of the dispute?

The Kalapani region derives its name from the river Kali. Nepal’s claims to the region is based on this river as it became the marker of the boundary of the kingdom of Nepal following the Treaty of Sugauli signed between the Gurkha rulers of Kathmandu and the East India Company after the Gurkha War/Anglo-Nepal War (1814-16). The treaty was ratified in 1816.

  • According to the treaty, Nepal lost the regions of Kumaon-Garhwal in the west and Sikkim in the east.
  • According to Article 5, the King of Nepal gave up his claims over the region west of the river Kali which originates in the High Himalayas and flows into the great plains of the Indian subcontinent.
  • According to the treaty, the British rulers recognised Nepal’s right to the region that fell to the east of the river Kali.

Here lies the historic origin of the dispute.

  • According to Nepal’s experts, the east of the Kali river should begin at the source of the river. The source according to them is in the mountains near Limpiyadhura, which is higher in altitude than the rest of the river’s flow.
  • Nepal claims that a land mass, high in the mountains that falls to the east of the entire stretch starting from Limpiyadhura downwards, is theirs.
  • India on the other hand says the border begins at Kalapani which India says is where the river begins.
  • The dispute is mainly because of the varying interpretation of the origin of the river and its various tributaries that slice through the mountains.
  • While Nepal’s claim of the territory east of Kali is based on the Limpiyadhura origin, India says the river actually takes the name Kali near Kalapani.

How India started controlling Lipulekh?

  • The importance of Himalayan passes with the Tibetan plateau was amply highlighted in the 1962 war.
  • During that war, Chinese forces used the pass of Se La in Tawang and reached the Brahmaputra plains in the east.
  • The military defeat in the east clearly demonstrated that weakly guarded passes were a major vulnerability of Indian military preparedness against China.
  • In comparison to Se La which was somewhat fortified, Lipulekh was vulnerable.
  • Nepali King Mahendra reached an agreement with Delhi and handed over the region for security purposes to India.
  • In 1969, under bilateral negotiations all the posts were removed barring Kalapani.

Where have Nepal and India erred?

India and China were in clear violation of Nepal’s concerns during the 2015 Lipulekh agreement between India and China which renewed India’s Mansarovar pilgrimage connection.

Neither side consulted Nepal or sought its opinion before that agreement that boosted pilgrimage and trade to Tibet.

What is the current position?

Nepal has published a revised official map incorporating the territory from the Limpiyadhura source of the Kali to Kalapani and Lipulekh pass in the northeast of the triangular region as its territory. On May 22, the Cabinet led by Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli registered a constitution amendment motion to grant constitutional status to the map.

Indian observers say this move makes any future solution on the Kalapani issue nearly impossible as a constitutional guarantee will make Kathmandu’s position inflexible.



Prelims Link:

  1. Where is lipulekh?
  2. Source of Kali river.
  3. India and Nepal border.
  4. Where is Kalapani?
  5. Routes to MT KAILASH and Mansarovar.
  6. Rivers passing through China and India.

Sources: the Hindu.


Topics Covered: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

US discussed conducting its first nuclear test in decades

What to study?

For Prelims: CRBT- objectives, features and significance.

For Mains: Implications of Restarting of nuclear tests, what needs to be done?

Context: The Trump administration discussed last week whether to conduct its first nuclear test explosion since 1992.

Why now?

In mid-April, a report issued by the United States State Department on “Adherence to and Compliance with Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Agreements and Commitments (Compliance Report)” raised concerns that China might be conducting nuclear tests with low yields at its Lop Nur test site, in violation of its Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) undertakings.

The U.S. report also claims that Russia has conducted nuclear weapons experiments that produced a nuclear yield and were inconsistent with ‘zero yield’ understanding underlying the CTBT, though it was uncertain about how many such experiments had been conducted.


  • The United States has not conducted a nuclear test explosion since September 1992, and nuclear nonproliferation advocates warned that doing so now could have devastating consequences.
  • Such a test would be a significant departure from US defense policy and dramatically up the ante for other nuclear-armed nations.
  • If it were to go ahead it would be seen as the “starting gun to an unprecedented nuclear arms race”. 

What is CTBT?

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is the Treaty banning all nuclear explosions – everywhere, by everyone. The Treaty was negotiated at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva and adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. It opened for signature on 24 September 1996.

The Treaty will enter into force after all 44 States listed in Annex 2 to the Treaty will ratify it. These States had nuclear facilities at the time the Treaty was negotiated and adopted.

India, North Korea and Pakistan have not yet signed the Treaty.

What is a “zero yield”?

A comprehensive test ban has been defined as a “zero yield” test ban that would prohibit supercritical hydro-nuclear tests but not sub-critical hydrodynamic nuclear tests.

Why is the CTBT so important?

The CTBT is the last barrier on the way to develop nuclear weapons. It curbs the development of new nuclear weapons and the improvement of existing nuclear weapon designs. The Treaty provides a legally binding norm against nuclear testing. The Treaty also helps prevent human suffering and environmental damages caused by nuclear testing.

Concerns ahead:

Both China and Russia have dismissed the U.S.’s allegations, pointing to the Trump administration’s backtracking from other negotiated agreements such as the Iran nuclear deal or the U.S.-Russia Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

Tensions with China are already high with trade and technology disputes, militarisation in the South China Sea and most recently, with the novel coronavirus pandemic. The U.S. could also be preparing the ground for resuming testing at Nevada.

The Cold War rivalry was already visible when the nuclear arms race began in the 1950s. New rivalries have already emerged. Resumption of nuclear testing may signal the demise of the ill-fated CTBT, marking the beginnings of a new nuclear arms race.

Sources: the Hindu.


Topic covered: India and its neighbourhood- relations.

China’s BRI

What to study?

For Prelims: Key features of BRI.

For Mains: India’s concerns, ways to address them and global implications of the project.

Context: China has hinted at a shift in how it will pursue its signature Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) amid growing concerns about debt repayments from many partner countries because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

In its recent report, China said it would focus on “achieving shared growth through consultation and collaboration” and would “work with BRI partners for mutually beneficial outcomes”.


In recent weeks, China has faced calls from countries in Asia and Africa to delay or waive debt repayments.

China’s financial assistance includes grants, interest-free loans and preferential loans.

What is BRI?

BRI consisting of the land-based belt, ‘Silk Road Economic Belt’, and ‘Maritime Silk Road’, aims to connect the East Asian economic region with the European economic circle and runs across the continents of Asia, Europe and Africa.

  • BRI is China’s ambitious project announced in 2013. It covers about 65% of the world population, 60% of the world GDP and over 70 countries in six economic corridors.
  • China is spending almost $1 trillion to revive and renew the overland and maritime trade links between China, Europe, West Asia, and East Africa through construction of modern ports linked to high-speed road and rail corridors.

India’s concerns with BRI:

  1. India argues that the BRI and China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project violates its sovereignty because it passes through the part of the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir that belongs to India.
  2. Debt trap: BRI projects are pushing recipient countries into indebtedness, do not transfer skills or technology and are environmentally unsustainable.
  3. China is planning to extend the CPEC to Afghanistan. Meanwhile, Maldives, Nepal, Myanmar and Sri Lanka are eagerly pursuing potential BRI projects.
  4. Through OBOR, China is countering the strategies of India in North East region and is promoting its greater presence in North East India, part of which China claims as its own territory. This may have a security impact on India.
  5. Tense bilateral relations with China, deep mistrusts and India’s growing concerns over Chinese hegemonic intentions in South Asia and Indo-Pacific region make it practically unlikely that India will ever consider joining this project.
  6. Military deployment: The fact that the Chinese have begun to deploy 30,000 security personnel to protect the projects along the CPEC route makes it an active player in the politics of the Indian sub-continent. Clearly, this is a case of double standards.


Sources: the Hindu.


Facts for Prelims

What are cicadas?

Cicadas are insects that spend most of their lives underground and emerge from the soil mainly to mate. Once out of the ground, their life span is fairly short, somewhere between two-four weeks.

There are three species of 17-year cicadas and three species of 13-year cicadas.

Why in News?

In US, there will be major outbreaks of periodical cicadas in 2020 and 2021.

What happens when cicadas emerge?

  • After emerging from the ground in billions, the cicadas shed their exoskeletons or outer skins to take their winged form.
  • Male cicadas “sing” to attract the females, the collective chorus of these male cicadas is very loud and can reach up to 100 decibels, which is as much as a powered lawnmower.
  • After mating, the females lay their eggs in twigs that are ½ to ¼ in diameter. One female is capable of laying over 400 eggs in 40-50 different sites. The eggs remain in the twigs for six to ten weeks before they hatch and after hatching the nymphs fall to the ground where they burrow 6-18 inches underground to feed and emerge 13 or 17 years later, depending on their grouping.


The egg-laying by the cicadas causes significant damage to small twigs. They damage many ornamental and hardwood trees, especially newly planted fruit and ornamental trees such as apple, dogwood, peach, cherry and pear among others, which are the most seriously damaged.

Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD):

LOCATION: Benishangul-Gumuz region, Ethiopia.

Formerly known as the Millennium Dam, it is under construction in the Benishangul-Gumuz region of Ethiopia, on the Blue Nile River, which is located about 40km east of Sudan.

After completion, it’ll be Africa’s largest.

Why in News?

Egypt has objected to the construction of this dam and in Sudan has found itself caught in the midst of this conflict. Due to the importance of the Nile as a necessary water source in the region, observers are concerned that this dispute may evolve into a full-fledged conflict between the two nations. The US has stepped in to mediate.

New plant species from Western Ghats:

Three new plant species reported in the evergreen forest patches of the southern end of the Western Ghats in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. They are:

Eugenia sphaerocarpa: Belongs to the Myrtaceae or Rose apple family. Found mainly in Kakkayam area of the Malabar wildlife sanctuary in Kerala above 800m. The fruits of Eugenia species are known for their palatability.


 Goniothalamus sericeus: Belongs to the Annonaceae family of custard apple. Found in the Kanyakumari wildlife sanctuary in Tamil Nadu at an altitude of 1400m. Sericeus refers to the presence of dense silky hair on petals.


 Memecylon nervosum: Belongs to the Melastomataceae (Kayamboo or Kaasavu in local parlance) family. Nervosum refers to the presence of prominently raised lateral and intramarginal veins on the lower surface of the lamina.


Adenovirus COVID-19 vaccine:

It uses a recombinant adenovirus type-5 vector that carries the genetic material that codes for spike glycoprotein of novel coronavirus.

The adenovirus is a weakened common cold virus.

Why in News?

Phase-1 trial of this vaccine was found to be safe, well-tolerated and able to generate immune responses against the virus.

The phase-2 trial will be a randomised, double-blinded and placebo-controlled trial.

Mizoram grants ‘industry’ status to sports:

Aiming to further bolster the sports activities, by attracting investment, sports have been accorded industry status in Mizoram, first state in India to do so.

Besides football, hockey, wrestling, there are a number of indigenous games such as, stick fighting, Insuknawra (rod pushing), Kalchhet kal (relay race using bamboo), Inarpathai (cock fighting) in Mizoram.

”Shahi Lichi” from Muzaffarpur and “Zardalu Mango” from Bhagalpur:

Context: Bihar Postal Circle (Department of Posts) to deliver “Shahi Lichi” and “Zardalu Mango” at doorsteps of people.

Shahi Litchi: Grown mainly in Muzaffarpur. It has high pulp and is juicier compared to the litchi grown in other parts of the country. The conditions here are ideal for litchi cultivation, because of humid conditions and alluvial soil. Shahi Litchi has got a Geographical Indication (GI) tag.

Zardalu/Jardalu Mango: It is light yellow in colour and is known for its sweet fragrance. They are chiefly grown in Bhagalpur in Bihar. They also have the GI tags.

Katkari Tribe:

Katkari is one of the 75 Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups.

Katkaris were historically forest dwellers. They are located primarily in Raigad and in parts of Palghar, Ratnagiri and Thane districts as well and in some places of Gujarat.

The British administration had classified them under the Criminal Tribes Act, 1871.

The name Katkari is derived from a forest-based activity – the making and barter or sale of Katechu (kath) from the khair tree (Acacia Katechu). It is produced by boiling wood from the Khair tree and evaporating the resulting brew.

Insights Current Affairs Analysis (ICAN) by IAS Topper